It is another occasion for us to heartily send you joyful greetings from SOS Children's Village Dar es salaam, a loving home for every child; greetings that we hope will spice your enjoyment of the warmth and brightness that comes with your summer. The Village is now home to 126 happy children and youth where out of these 15 youth boys have been moved to a rented youth home close to village vicinity.
This year opened with a major disaster in the city caused by heavy rains resulting in massive floods reported to be the worst for the past 50 years. While our Village was not directly hit, many families in low laying areas lost their homes and an estimated 40 people lost their lives. Gonzaga Primary School where our children attend had to open late because the School lost much of the materials needed for the school to open due to the floods. However, with the support of the community, which the Village helped to rally, the School was opened some ten days late in January and has been running smoothly since then, with some new equipment – an unexpected blessing of the floods!
Family Strengthening Programme (FSP)
The number of beneficiary children in this program has remained 200 (in 53 families of origin) due to the resource limitations. However, within these limitations, the programme has continued to impact the community. This year two of the children that we support did so well in their ‘O’ level final examinations that they were selected to join government schools for their ‘A’ levels. This year the FSP is starting a new activity for the families called ‘Hisa’ a Swahili word for ‘shares’. In this activity participating families pool resources together by collecting into a common fund (which members manage on their own with the support of our staff) in which a family may access a low interest loan depending on the number of shares they have bought. In this process, the community is actually empowering itself while the organization is simply a facilitator. The activity has been very successful in Mwanza (another town where SOS is working), where it has greatly increase the confidence of community members to solve their own problems.
SOS Mothers & Aunts
Currently our children are cared for by 13 Mothers and 3 Aunts following the transfer of five aunts to Arusha (where two of them have become mothers!) and the departure of the mother of House 4 who left in order to start her own family. The departure of this mother was a sad event to the entire village and particularly her children, but the Village community was able understand her aspirations and rallied around the children to give them support. A new mother was attached to the family two months before her departure to make a smooth transition. The new mother has therefore been able to integrate well to this family. In May mothers and Aunts took a day off which they spent at Kipepeo Beach Resort where they had time to rest for a day and enjoy fellowship on their own with the Village Director and his wife.
Increasingly, our Nursery is becoming more of a facility for the community around the Village, as our children grow and leave for Primary Schools. In this way our Village is receiving more and more recognition as an important player in the development of the community around us. We have been receiving inquiries for admissions from further afield, but the lack of our own transport has prevented us from accepting these children for admissions. At the beginning of April, all our Nursery children were treated to an outing to Kunduchi Water Park, a well known water games resort for children in the city. It was a hilarious experience which the children enjoyed for a whole day and predictably were joyfully exhausted by the time of coming back to the village.
The Village Life - Religious/Cultural Activities
In spite of the flood disaster in the city, the Village community managed to start the year on a positive note, thanks to a late New Year beach outing sponsored by the Dar es Salaam Port Manager. All the village children, staff members and their families were invited to this outing which became for us a big family gathering. Easter was marked differently where each SOS family celebrated independently in their own family, while the Village Director provided extra funding needed for the family to enjoy the day. Our children continued to receive religious education; some in the Village and others in their religious houses of prayer.
We are very grateful to our good friends and supporters as you, whose support has enabled us to do what we have done. As we express our profound gratitude to you and all our supporters and friends, we wish you success in all your work and life; confident that your support to us will remain strong in the days to come.
SOS Children's Village Dar es Salaam